In light of the recent events with the death of Osama bin Laden, D.A. Carson’s timely book Love In Hard Places is being offered as a free PDF download or you can purchase it at Westminster Books or Amazon. Love In Hard Places was born out of four lectures given in 2001. This book is a follow up to his previous book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God which fleshes out the many ways in which God does and does not show His love to people.

Andy Naselli points out that after Carson’s book was published 9/11 happened which prompted Carson to add a 35 pg. section titled “Hard Case Two: Osama bin Laden”.  As you can see from the title and the added section, this book is very relevant to the events of the weekend so I strongly encourage you to download the book or buy it.

Naselli gives us a summary of the added section:

  1. It may be helpful, first of all, to reflect on pacifism and “just war” theory in the light of the biblical commands to love and forgive.
  2. On the other hand, all war, even just war, is never more than rough justice. Even the just war is prosecuted by sinners, and so injustices will occur.
  3. Several other factors are often thrown into the debate about how we should respond to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
  4. Historically, wars have changed their form from time to time, generating fresh discussion about just war theory. It is time to begin this process again.
  5. As with racism, so here: Christians need to reflect on how some of the fundamentals of the faith bear on just war.
  6. One more theological reflection is relevant to the concerns of these lectures. Complex discussions about justice, forgiveness, enemies, and just war theory may entice us to forget that they were all precipitated by the effort to think exegetically and theologically about love.

Naselli applies the summary to the present situation:

Therefore, in the present struggle, even while we must try to prevent the terrorists from doing more violence, we must eschew a vendetta mentality. Love demands that we do not demonize Osama bin Laden. He is a human being made in the image of God. He is an evil man, and he must be stopped, but he is a man, and we should take no pleasure in destroying him. Vengeance is the Lord’s alone. Do not offer the alternative, “Should we weep for Osama bin Laden or hold him to account for his genocide and prevent him from carrying out his violent intentions?” The right answer is yes.